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Can Degraded Polyurethane Foam in Recalled CPAP Machines Cause Cancer?

October 19, 2022 In Philips CPAP Recall

Many people live with respiratory conditions like sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening without medical assistance. Devices like CPAP and BiPAP machines help open the airways and make it easier to breathe. However, some of these machines have been found to lead to dangerous medical conditions like cancer.

In June 2021, manufacturer Philips recalled many of its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines after discovering a devastating health risk to patients. The degraded foam used in these machines can cause several types of cancer and many other health problems, including respiratory problems.

The Link Between Recalled CPAP Machines and Cancer

Most of Philips’ CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices do not cause cancer. However, some of these machines contain foam made from polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) to reduce noise and vibrations. This PE-PUR foam was found to degrade, causing particles and toxic gases to travel through the CPAP machine’s airways and enter a patient’s body.

The degraded foam can cause serious health risks when these particles travel into a patient’s lungs and bloodstream. In addition to respiratory inflammation, asthma, and organ damage, PE-PUR foam is linked to the development of several types of cancer, including the following:

  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Nasal cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Why Is PE-PUR Foam Dangerous When Degraded?

When it is intact, PE-PUR foam is relatively harmless and can be used safely in manufacturing. However, when the foam breaks down, dangerous particles and toxic gases can be released. In particular, this foam contains isocyanates, which are potential human carcinogens that are known to cause cancer in animals. 

Because CPAP devices include an airway, the PE-PUR foam can travel directly into the nose or mouth, leading to serious injuries and permanent damage. There are several harmful substances that could be released when PE-PUR foam degrades, such as the following:

  • Toluene Diamine: This chemical is used to make products like dyes, hydraulic fluid, and polyurethane, and is linked to genetic defects, organ cancer, loss of fertility, and skin conditions.
  • Diethylene Glycol: This substance is used to make other chemicals and can lead to skin and eye irritation. If swallowed, diethylene glycol can be toxic.
  • Toluene Diisocyanate: This chemical is used to make foam like PE-PUR foam and coatings. It can be fatal if inhaled and may lead to eye, skin, and respiratory irritation in addition to cancer.

Signs of Health Problems Caused by PE-PUR Foam

Cancer symptoms can vary widely depending on the location and stage of the condition. However, there are some signs of health problems caused by exposure to PE-PUR foam that you shouldn’t ignore. 

If you experience headaches, a persistent cough, chest pressure, or airway irritation, you should go to the doctor immediately. Some common symptoms of cancer include unexplained weight loss, the formation of lumps, changes in bowel or bladder habits, and fatigue or weakness. 

What to Do If You Were Diagnosed with Cancer After Using a Philips Device

If you were diagnosed with cancer after using a recalled Philips CPAP device, you can feel scared and overwhelmed. In these situations, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Save all of your medical records related to your CPAP use and the diagnosis and treatment of your cancer.

You should also seek a replacement for your CPAP machine or try alternative therapies. Because sleep apnea could be dangerous, do not stop using your device until your doctor recommends an acceptable alternative. 

Then, you should reach out to an attorney who handles Philips CPAP lawsuits. Many former patients are pursuing legal claims against the manufacturer to hold it accountable for the losses that they suffered. A lawyer can evaluate your situation and help determine whether you qualify for this type of claim. Then, he or she will help you take your first steps toward recovering fair compensation.

Compensation Available to Former Philips CPAP Patients

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating and impact several areas of your life. You could experience significant financial hardship due to expensive medical therapies. You may be unable to go to work while you are recovering from your condition or receiving treatment. The physical and emotional consequences can be difficult to bear.

By filing a Philips CPAP lawsuit, you could recover a financial settlement to help pay for these losses. There are two categories of damages in a Philips CPAP claim: economic damages, which involve financial hardships; and non-economic damages, which involve the pain and suffering that you endured.

Below are a few examples of damages that you could recover in your lawsuit:

  • Past and future medical expenses for your cancer treatment
  • Any accommodations that you require as a result of your condition
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your CPAP device
  • Chronic pain and permanent disability as a result of your condition
  • Emotional distress, mental anguish, depression, or anxiety
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life

Speak to an Attorney About Your Philips CPAP Lawsuit

If you used a recalled Philips CPAP device and were later diagnosed with cancer, organ damage, or another health condition, you deserve justice. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover compensation to pay for your damages, but this process can be highly complex and stressful. In these situations, you need a lawyer who can represent your case.

An attorney who specializes in defective medical device litigation can benefit your Philips CPAP lawsuit in several ways:

  • Your lawyer will have access to scientific evidence and medical experts that he or she can leverage to strengthen your lawsuit.
  • Your attorney will have years of experience representing clients in lawsuits involving defective medical devices and will be able to guide you through each stage of litigation.
  • Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies and corporate defense teams on your behalf.
  • Your attorney can calculate your estimated settlement and use this information to advocate for maximum compensation.
  • Your lawyer will handle all aspects related to your case so that you can focus on medical treatment and recovery.

As soon as possible following your diagnosis, contact a Philips CPAP recall attorney to learn more about your legal options. Your lawyer will carefully review your case and help strategize your optimal path to justice.